Summary : The winner of Australia's prize for lifetime achievement in literature chronicles one family's unraveling and their tentative rapprochement forged through tragedy. "Sheer pleasure," is how Newsday described Thea Astley's most recent book, Vanishing Points. Now, with The Slow Natives, Astley's wit, sense of irony, and ability to delineate human foibles link her to such great observers of the human comedy as Graham Greene and Iris Murdoch. The Slow Natives takes place on that familiar battleground where middle age and adolescence confront each other, in a climate of hostile bewilderment, contempt, and reluctant love. At its center are music teacher Bernard Leverson, bored with his job and his marriage; his wife, Iris, who is engaged listlessly in an affair; and their rebellious teenage son, Keith. Their path leads inevitably to tragedy, but also presses the Leversons toward a reappreciation of their lives and one another. Here is a novel that confirms Thea Astley as one of the best writers of our time.